Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Olivia and the missing toy

Olivia and the missing toy

Ian Falconer
Picture Book  Series
For ages 3 to 7
Simon and Schuster (USA), 2003   ISBN: 978-0689852916

This morning Olivia has soccer practice. The problem is that the jersey she has to wear for practice is a dreadful green color. So, being a very kind and understanding person, Olivia's mother sits down at the sewing machine and makes Olivia a red one - red being Olivia's favorite color. Olivia is delighted with the result until she discovers something dreadful - her favorite toy is missing.

Devastated and distraught by her loss, Olivia searches everywhere for her toy. At last she finds it. The poor toy is in pieces for Perry the dog has chewed it. Not surprisingly Olivia is furious and upset but she is also the kind of little girl pig who rises to the challenge and who finds a solution to her problem. She even finds it in her heart to forgive Perry for his chewing indiscretions.

This Olivia title is both deliciously funny and it is also very sympathetic. The author clearly understands how Olivia feels when her favorite toy goes missing. Through Olivia's actions, her words, and the clever artwork we see that this is indeed a rather tragic event in the life of the little girl pig, one which cannot, indeed should not, be dismissed or trivialized. Small children will connect with Olivia in no time, and parents will remember all too well an occasion when they had to search the house for some favorite toy that went missing for several terrible hours.

Clear, sharp illustrations rendered in charcoal and touched with splashed of red and green paint fill the pages, delighting the reader with their originality. Once again the diva pig in her red striped outfit takes center stage.